Emma Watson (A.K.A. Hermione Granger A.K.A. Belle from Beauty and the Beast A.K.A. alumna of Brown University A.K.A. UN Women Goodwill Ambassador A.K.A. founder of feminist campaign HeForShe) is in the news for *gasp* showing part of her breasts in a Vanity Fair photo.
And now, all of the above-mentioned titles (even Hermione Granger) shall be stripped from her for all eternity. She can no longer be taken seriously as an activist, actress, or even real-live person with a brain. In fact, I hear she’s been banished to a dungeon in the basement of Mike Pence and Mitch McConnell’s vacation home in the Smoky Mountains where she will be indoctrinated with proper female etiquette, such as modesty and silence. I mean, what else can we do with her now? We almost saw a nipple. (We didn’t. But we were reminded of the fact that she has nipples. And that’s the same.)
Sigh. News flash: The female body is beautiful. There’s a reason images of women in all forms have graced the covers of both men’s and women’s magazines and have been the subject of classic artwork since the dawn of man. And yes, a core component of the feminist movement is to stop and prevent the sexual objectification and abuse of women. But it’s important to understand that there is a difference between objectifying women—using their bodies without their consent or against their will—and a woman choosing to celebrate her beautiful, healthy, feminine body.
A woman can show her skin and still have a brain.
Thankfully, Emma Watson is no stranger to criticism. When she launched HeForShe, she was, of course, met with endless clapback. So when comments like “Emma Watson: Feminism, feminism … gender wage gap … why oh why am I not taken seriously … feminism … oh, and here are my tits!” (tweeted by British radio commentator Julia-Hartley Brewer) flooded social media, Watson was ready. She bluntly responded: “Feminism is about giving women choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women. It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, it’s about equality. I really don’t know what my tits have to do with it. It’s very confusing.”
Gloria Steinem, mother of the modern feminist movement, has Emma’s back: “Feminists can wear anything they f—ing want.” Take Malala Yousafzai, for example, who also identifies as a feminist and wears a headscarf. Does her attire have anything to do with her courage and tireless efforts to educate girls in Pakistan? Listen, I get it. Your great-grandparents were probably up in arms about Susan B. Anthony wearing pants, so maybe it’s not your fault.
So, as someone who identifies strongly with the feminist movement, I’d like to make sure I know the rules. I am intelligent only if I wear… a turtleneck? Are short sleeves okay? And my efforts in fighting for women’s equality are only valid if… I wear heels and a business suit but my skirt passes the fingertip test? What about makeup and hair? Red lipstick and a smokey eye are probably no-nos because they scream SEX and WHORE. But is a light gloss permitted?
Maybe we just need a manual. Hopefully Mike Pence and Mitch McConnell can work on it next time they are on vaca. Don’t forget to bring some gruel down to chained up Emma, okay, guys? I’m sure she’s sorry and will never attempt to be beautiful or sexual ever again.